Sex and Silence: What This Awards Season Tells Us About Hollywood

Whether it’s the return of steamy scenes or the lack of political speeches, the road to the Oscars holds a lot of clues about the state of the industry.

We’re heading into the final stretch of this awards season, but you needn’t wait until the Oscars on March 10 to begin drawing conclusions about what’s transpired.

To me, awards season has always offered a useful opportunity to take the film industry’s temperature. What can be gleaned about Hollywood’s current state from the movies and moments that have factored into this year’s race? Here are a few of the telling trends I’ve noticed so far.

Paul Mescal, left, and Andrew Scott in “All of Us Strangers.”Searchlight Pictures

One of the first films I watched last year was “Passages,” a bisexual love-triangle drama that features one of the most bracing sex scenes I’ve ever seen in a movie. That encounter between two men (played by Ben Whishaw and Franz Rogowski) is revealing not simply because the actors strip down to so little, but because over the course of this surprisingly lengthy and explicit scene, we come to know so much more about the characters from the power dynamics they negotiate while making love.

Though I assumed “Passages” would be an anomaly, 2023 proved to be a sexually forthright movie year, producing a crop of awards contenders more interested in the joys of sex than any recent season I can remember. Emma Stone spent much of “Poor Things” on an uninhibited journey of desire, convening with a series of men in a way that surely tested the boundaries of the movie’s R rating. In “All of Us Strangers,” the sexual chemistry between Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal was so potent that I felt myself blushing. Even the director Christopher Nolan broke with convention, filming the first sex scenes of his career for “Oppenheimer.”

If there had been a chill in the air while Hollywood learned how to navigate the new inclusion of intimacy coordinators on set, that’s gone now: Movie stars and prestige filmmakers are once again game for the sort of sex scenes that had lately been consigned to premium television. When I spoke with the “Poor Things” director Yorgos Lanthimos in November, he sounded hopeful that attitudes had changed.

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Source: Movies -


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